NAS with Angie: the Process

Hi, all -- this will be my last NAS post for a few days. As soon as I'm able I will show you stylings of the things I chose and add more photos. For now, since some of you asked, a description of the in-store process. 

Anyone who's had the pleasure of meeting Angie knows she is an organized, efficient, and extremely upbeat person who does not waste a minute! She planned it all down to the last detail so that in the moment I was only conscious of having fun and getting a real jumpstart on my fall wardrobe.

In advance, she asked me for a list of things I was NOT looking for. I gave her that, along with a smaller list of items I really wanted or needed, if the sale goddesses deigned to provide. We agreed that we wouldn't look at active wear, undies, accessories (beyond bags and footwear) etc. because I felt I could spend the time with her more productively on core wardrobe items and she agreed. But some clients do ask for assistance in those areas and she does provide it. 

She didn't exactly pre-select items specifically for me...but considering that our tastes do overlap and knows that, she kindly kept some of her own purchases in the dressing room for me to look at and suggested try-ons, particularly of those items that had already sold out. That was very helpful, because at least I got a sense of fit and proportion and could guesstimate what size I might need in the item, should I want it and should it come back into stock. 

Once we'd looked at those things, she spirited me around the store, so fast I hardly dared to blink because whenever I did, I lost sight of her! The other shoppers must have got a kick out of her fluting voice calling "Suz! Suz! Over here!" every couple of minutes. ;)

Shadowing us was a lovely young woman who took things back to the dressing room almost as quickly as we could collect them. As you saw from the photos, we did many try-ons of toppers and sweaters right there on the floor. If something felt good and seemed good in the mirror, we'd take it back to the dressing room to compare it later with other items (and with proper layers beneath in the case of jackets and coats.) 

We travelled floor by floor -- the pricier items first (though several that had appealed to me were already gone in my size or in any size!); the mid-range and "cheap as chips" items next, and then coats. Finally, once we'd scoured the cordoned off sale areas for anything that could potentially work, we headed back to the dressing room for some serious analysis and consideration. 

At first I wondered how I'd ever choose, because we'd liked so much of what we saw on the floor. But in the end, it was a snap. Angie's such a pro at this and can see right away if something has potential. She's also intuitive and quickly grasps if it isn't quite where the client wants to go (even if the client isn't sure one way or another, LOL.)

It probably helps that we've known each other on the forum for years and she's seen so many photos of my outfits and has read about my lifestyle and therefore knows my needs and constraints. But I suspect she's a quick study, regardless.

There were a few items that we both liked but that I left, mainly for reasons of practicality, not being sure it would work for lifestyle/ climate etc. or just not liking it quite as much as something else. And there were a couple that she thought could work and that looked good but that didn't feel to me as if they fit right. But for the most part we agreed on everything and she never pushed me to buy more for the sake of buying more or to take an item that would be a duplicate of something I already have, or to take a pricey item if a less expensive one would fill the need, etc. I felt thoroughly spoiled and supported. 

While we pondered, we sipped on tea and water, and every now and again, Angie would check the forum or dash out for a different top for me to pair with the bottoms, or our helpful assistant would come to take away our rejects. 

Overall, I found that I was more selective during this in-person shop than I am when I shop online. Because I was able to compare right then and there, I had no problems whatever deciding between this good thing and that even better thing, and I am pretty sure I purchased less than I might have if I'd bought online. Meanwhile, I feel more confident and comfortable with what I got and won't face the minor hassle of returns. 

I will still do an order for my basics online and might order the things I couldn't find in store if they happen to restock or I might visit my Canadian store to explore the offerings -- but even if none of that works out, I feel as if I had a fabulous NAS with the items I got and also feel more set for fall than I have ever felt before! It was so fun to load up on new bottoms and some fresh red boots and plaid! :) There is a strong 80s retro feel to several of the items I bought and I'm going with it. Maybe it's a sign I need to revisit that time in my creative work, too, or take some inspiration from it in some way. Fun to ponder. 

There's something so deeply satisfying in watching a person do the work they are made for. To be a part of that process, to be immersed in it with the professional at work, is even better. 

THANK YOU, Angie

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Bottoms

I've nattered more than once on here about being a bit tired of my skinnies and tube skirts narrow on the bottom fallback silhouette. Yes, I need to wear skinnies in winter when the weather is truly awful. Yes, tube skirts have been a literal godsend to me at times. But a person does get tired of the same old, same old. And while I managed to get one great A-line summer skirt last year and 2 nice lightweight culottes this year, I just retired my two wide leg jeans for reasons of fit/ wear and only own one pair of winter culottes. I was really in the market for new trousers and also very open to updated denim. 

A side note: In the past three very stressful years I've gained about 13 pounds. The good part: I can wear some V-necks! I fill out my tops and bras! I could even consider a wrap if it were the right one!

The bad news...I do need to wear a new size on the bottom. I used to wear a 26 and now I wear a 27 in most jeans. 

Anyway. Here is what I tried, what I bought, and what I'm stalking. 

I tried the Madewell Emmett windowpane pant. I'd say these TTS. They are a super fun pant and I'm tempted to go back for them. You can see them on Angie in one of her posts. Unfortunately we forgot to photograph them on me. They were really comfy. They'd be good for someone whose winter is fairly mild, I think, because they are mainly cotton. I wasn't sure I'd reach for them beyond September in my climate and you have to commit to the pattern on the bottom. 

The VB Gemini crop pants were sold out in any size that would remotely fit me but I tried on a really large size just to get the sense of them. GORGEOUSLY made pant, wool, and lined. Super comfortable. A slim but not tight tapered fit like a classic cigarette pant. Very flattering. I am strongly considering these if I can find my size. The pattern is very adaptable -- you could pair it with many different colours. 

The EF boyfriend jean was a surprising hit. I bought a 2, which means they run large, as is typical for EF. They are high waisted but not overly high. If you bought them in your regular size you'd get a baggy BF fit. They are not too tight on my calves but fall nicely. They have some stretch but still feel substantial. And they have white stitching! That's what made them for me. Combined with the grey cuffs, this detailing works well with my hair.

The Madewell high waist slim wide leg button fly is terrific. I had to go up to a 28 in these -- so if you have curvy thighs, size up! They are a more substantial feeling denim, not very stretchy, with a certain amount of heft to them. They'll be a great winter jean. And I don't even have to hem them! They are a bit longer than the length Angie typically recommends but we experimented with them and actually agreed that they looked best as is. So that was easy!

Wild card for me -- something I would not even have tried without Angie -- the Paige bootcuts. These are amazing! Super stretchy (which I usually hate, but didn't, in this case), very streamlined and extremely comfortable. These are the only jeans we got a photo of -- you can see them hemmed for flats here. They are TTS, 

I really wanted to try the Perfect Vintage Madewell side slit jean. Alas, not available in my size. I will be stalking. 

I also wanted to try a fun pair of Halogen tie waist pants but there were none in anything like my size and on consideration, I'd probably find the belt annoying. So that is that for now. 

Happy to answer any questions if I can. Sorry for the paucity of photos -- we really tried but there is a lot of thinking and talking going on in the fitting room so we got a bit distracted. I will show you styled pics as soon as I can. 

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Tops

This one will be very brief because I have almost nothing to say. :) 

I really wasn't in the market for tops or knitwear unless the sale turned out to be an incredible knitwear bonanza. 

That's the emotional part of this process for me. I do go in with ideas about what I don't really need or want, and also ideas about what I'm looking for. But I also play it by ear. Last year I didn't know I was going to buy two dresses, but I did. The sale had some good midi-length dresses and that sort of set the tone. I got dressier booties and shoes to go with the dresses and limited my casual purchases more than usual. 

This year, while I didn't buy any tops, I did try on a few fun items from J. Crew that I may go for later on. The stars t-shirt is adorable. The Breton is a very boxy square cut with dropped shoulders -- it has a distinct 80s feel to it. I really liked it but don't need it immediately and I know J. Crew has good sales of their own. 

Angie also showed me some knit tops she is recommending. Her GORGEOUS peplum (which tempts me but I have to step away because I really don't have a need for this right now). But also, in the cheap and cheerful department, these Halogen ribbed tops, which come in a couple of colourways. They feel like cotton but I think they are actually a blend of some kind. 

She also showed me a few V neck blouse-type items and a few other knits, but I'm afraid I can't offer much insight. I'm sure she will have more to say in her roundup. 


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Footwear reviews and observations

Footwear was our last stop. My only real need this year was a pair of casual boots to replace my worn out silver Elodie platform Chelsea boots. I may make one more purchase, but more on that later. 

As with clothing, plaid and animal print were everywhere. Weatherproof and casual boots and booties are great, and the sneaker selection was fabulous. The sale also includes some great sandals and sandal booties for those in warmer climates. 

I tried on just a few pair of boots/ booties and some sneakers. 

The Pikolinos are "stinking cute," as Angie said, and really comfy. Also very lightweight. I was tempted but felt I only needed one of this type of item and I was completely smitten by the Paul Green tartan lace ups.

I've never owned a pair of Paul Greens but have wanted to for a long time. These are pricey for me, even on sale, but are such a fantastic statement item that I couldn't resist They sing to my late 80s/ early 90s retro fashion gene, without any of the weight of the original Docs. AND they zip up the back so no need to fuss with laces. So there is that. They go by a different sizing system (not US and not EU, weirdly) but anyway, I got the smaller of my 2 sizes. 

I also really loved their sister boot -- the moto buckle up -- but honestly, 2 pair would be overkill. 

The SA brought us the gorgeous taupe Aquatalias to try. Angie said some of her clients found them too narrow. I did not -- for me, they were TTS for Aquatalia, which does run narrower than some brands but not too narrow for my average width forefoot and medium volume foot overall. You can see on Angie they are a gorgeous boot. But they wouldn't work for anyone with a wide or higher volume foot. 

For fun I tried the grey Adidas -- I needed my larger size for those because they run short. They are really cute but I didn't really need them. 

The sneakers at the sale are terrific! Especially the Eccos. They are really featuring those this year, with quite a spread and lots of colourways. I am a longtime Ecco loyalist so I am tempted to get another pair -- I am on my second pair of white Ecco 7s and on my second pair of 8s as well. But I can wait for that. They will go on sale in Canada, too. 

Angie also pointed out quite a lot of dressier flats that she likes. They were too flat for me even to contemplate due to my own fussy foot issues so we just sailed by them with a friendly nod and wave. 

Yesterday, I decided against buying any Blondos at the sale because I can get them cheaper in Canada. But I'm tempted to go back (or order) the Elvinas in snake. I have these boots already in black and taupe and both were absolute workhorses for me last year. I don't know for sure if they will stock this fun colourway in Canada and it might be worth my while to buy now. This print would be brilliant with my hair, and I already know the boot is superb on my foot.

Thoughts? (She says, clearly seeking an enabler!)

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Coats and jackets

First up, coats and jackets. I was actively in the market for: 

  • a great pea coat or military coat and/or trench (not black), 
  • a coat to wear with midis in winter, and 
  • a utility-type casual rain resistant coat to replace my beloved J. Crew utility coat. 

I might be able to eke another year or two out of that coat if I get it cleaned and then re-wax it. I'm just not sure, because the canvas is starting to wear. It has been a total workhorse for me. 

I was actively not looking for leather jackets or puffers. 

As for jackets, I was hoping for a fun plaid, not Black Watch (since I have one), and I'm always on the lookout for ways to add red. 

ETA to add fit notes for those curious. 

I really wanted to try the VB Harriet red plaid -- but it is completely gone. For comparison I tried on several sizes of another of her jackets. It wasn't exactly the same cutaway style (the Harriet looks a bit shorter) so it's difficult to say for sure, but anyway, right now in VB, I seemed to be between sizes -- the smaller size felt a bit snug and the larger size looked better but something felt a bit off with the proportions. Probably the stance was too low in that size. 

I will still stalk Harriet to see if I can try it on, and would consider it. It is pricey for me even on sale, but this is the kind of thing I'd wear into the ground if the fit was good, so it's still worth considering if I get a chance. 

The red double breasted coat is beautiful quality for the price and "my" true red. I tried Angie's on -- it was a size too small. Alas! There are none to be had anywhere now in any size. So I will stalk it. Christina asked about fit -- I would say it is fairly straight through the hip but not ridiculously so. 

I took home the water resistant moto detail coat. It's a really good casual item. I loved the hardware on it, and it has a nice cozy faux fur lined hood that is removable. I'm not 100% sure I will keep it, though. I need to try it out with some outfits and consider the wear level of the J. Crew. Might make sense to wait another year. On the other hand, the price is right, and as Angie pointed out, the slippery fabric would repel cat hair. :).  I got the S in this coat. With added weight, these days I'm sometimes XS and sometimes S and this time I needed the S. 

Although I wasn't in the market for puffers, I tried on a few by Bernardo. I tell you, that Rachylou knows her business. Bernardo makes great puffies for a moderately cold or damp/chilly climate. They are not really up to the rigours of Quebec winters, but they are super for more moderate climates or for people who are mainly wearing them in and out of their car. I liked the fit of both the long and short and both colours were sophisticated and flattering. They seem TTS to me. 

Surprisingly, the dark red or mulberry or whatever you call that colour looked good on Angie as well as on me. As did the green. Good hardware and waist fit on those coats. The only complaint I had was that the zippers were not two-way. That is pretty much a deal-breaker for me when it comes to puffer coats. But if it is not an issue for you, and you need a puffer, give these a chance. 

For fun, I also tried on some lightweight coats and long line jackets. The zebra coat was super fun -- almost a "swacket" -- a lightweight item with some stretch, not a true lined coat but something to wear as an indoor topper or on days with a slight fall nip to the air. It looked terrific with my silver hair and I quite liked it. But I didn't think I'd wear it much, plus, as Janet pointed out, the fabric seemed likely to catch and with a cat in the household...

The Summit version was also fun -- not quite as flattering to me as the VC, I think, partly because of the collarless style and partly because the white is "brightening" for my complexion. 

The double face wool Black Watch pattern coat was gone or it would have tempted me. I did try the star pattern coat and it felt like a lot of coat to me -- a bit overwhelming, but the 80s vibe was fun. It's very lightweight -- more for fall than winter (even in my current climate) and not lined. It lacked side entry pockets. For some that might be a bonus but my hands always look for those pockets. Note that many of this year's coats lack side pockets, including the red midi coat I'm stalking. 

The shawl collar blazer is gorgeous for the price and really fun looking, but not my colours with the gold hardware and yellow. It will be stunning on Angie

The Topshop red and white check was adorable on, and fun, but I wasn't completely at home in it, though the fit was very nice. I had to size up 2 to 3 sizes larger than my typical box store size and larger even than my designer size. 

The Madewell oversized denim jacket was really cool, but I didn't feel ready to make the styling commitment. Angie thought it looked good with what I was wearing, but it felt proportionately "off" to me and I figured I would need more time to consider the look. 

The 1 State Windowpane ruched sleeve blazer felt like a winner the second I put it on. There's a bit of stretch to the fabric and for me it seemed like a really easy item to wear. Considering the VB wasn't even available, this seemed to fit the same yen without breaking the bank, and the fit might actually be better for me. 

The wrinkle? I had promised to avoid black items. And this is called "deepest black." Ha! Well, I could be in denial but I swear the black looks more like deep ink! Laid next to black jeans it looked downright blue! Anyway, I took it home. (Shhhhh). ;)

I also tried on and really liked the long line jacket (same company). I needed a larger size in this to accommodate my hips, and while I really liked it, it wasn't quite up to the standard of the jacket on me. So I passed. I might reconsider, though. 

I also really liked but ultimately passed on the little Chanel style bouclé jacket. It looked really good, but I didn't feel I needed it. 

Angie's aviator jacket was so much fun and a great red for me. But it felt a bit too long and narrow through the hip and there was no two-way zip. Plus, I didn't want pleather or leather, so that was out. 

I also tried on a few pleather jackets for fun -- they came in nice cool blush tones and pale blues. But again, I wasn't in the market so they stayed behind. 

To summarize (at last, you're thinking!) I'd say this is a really good sale for mid-range and inexpensive coats and jackets. The higher range stuff was mixed, and some of the best sold out immediately, so I couldn't examine it. The overwhelming themes were plaid, double breasted, colour, animal print, texture. The mood is fun, playful, statement-making. 

Given the sell-out rate of some of these items, I actually wonder if the whole marketing plan for the sale differs from previous years -- there is so much *less* online than I seem to recall and stock in the flagship store at least seemed to sell out very quickly.  But they do re-stock and some items will come back in, so it's worth continuing to look if you are curious. 

Finally -- my non NAS related disappointment -- Angie kindly brought her Hobbs trench for me to try on for size. We determined that I needed a size up from her and I went back to order it immediately. But (sob!) -- no more Saskias in navy with white stitching. And none in my size on the UK site period. I will have to wait for another year. Sigh...

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Shopping with the Pro: Part 1

This is the fun photos post! I'll follow up with some individual reviews of items that I tried and some general sale thoughts in separate posts. Onwards! 

1. Sale mayhem just before my arrival. I had never visited the flagship store. It's much bigger than Vancouver's store (which is also quite large) with much better selection and options. It was busy in store but extremely civilized. Of course it helped that I was travelling with a Queen and supported by her retinue. :)  Seriously, though -- "busy" does not equal Filene's basement madness. Just a lot of shoppers. 

2. The Queen herself -- without shoes. Because I stole her shoes to wear them myself in 3. Trying on jeans. 

4. Selfie fun. 

5. Long Rag & Bone jacket for anyone who wants to see. 

6. Halogen bouclé. 

7. 1 State windowpane jacket. 

8. Our lovely assistant takes a pic.

9. Topshop jacket.

10/11. 1 State longline

Footwear department try-ons -- more information to follow. 

22/23 -- the amazing Annagybe! Check out those shoes...

24. What I got -- or am hoping to get (some items not available, more to follow.) 

Below are Finds of items I tried on/ considered/ looked at and talked about with Angie -- I have more information on all for those who are curious and throughout the day will be writing separate category posts to help shoppers! 

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1901 in Navy

This is not a keep or return. This is a hem or don't hem. I'm keeping it and am REALLY TEMPTED to order the red as well. Has anyone seen the red in person? True red or tomato? 

Gorgeous fabric. Fits great -- very slightly on the loose side. I did not order petite and that turns out to be a good thing because the waist is in the right place for me in the regular, despite my very slight short-waistedness. 

It could use a press. It came crunched up in a plastic bag. 

Light is poor today and the humidity is intense but I did my best to try a few styling options for summer into fall. 

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EF Tilda

Today's blog may be all about lengthening the leg line in flats, but here's another way. Heels! 

I ordered the Tilda in black and it has just arrived. WOW, it is the perfect heel for me. Lovely soft suede. Perfect width in front. Perfect alignment with my rather high arch. Extremely stable heel. Criss cross straps keep it on. 

The chunky heel makes it look a bit retro to my eye. 

It is honestly so comfortable that I am tempted to order it in another colour as well! 

Not styled at all -- just tried them on with what I'm wearing today. Please ignore conspicuous tan lines on feet! :)

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First order arrived. Pics added!

So far, I think I have some keepers. 

1/2. ML dress. Gorgeous drape and swish! A nice weight jersey, easy to wear yet extremely elegant. Lined up top. Very well made for the price point. Angie said TTS but mine seems a little bit on the large side. It might depend on body type modifiers. My regular size fits, but generously. I can't wait to wear this one! Mr. Suz gave it a thumbs up. It reminds me a bit of a similar style floral Betsy Johnson dress he bought me in the 90s, so it's a bit romantic. :)

2. Carie bootie -- fit is a bit long on the foot and as usual it's loose on my right heel, but there is no such thing as footwear that does not flip flop on my heels. With socks there's no risk of blisters. Comfort is excellent for me -- very stable heel and lots of cushioning inside. The fit on my calf is no problem. I might need to add an insole for support. Gorgeous sapphire colour will work with my wardrobe and I love the snip square toe. Do you think the ankle fit looks okay? 

5/6. Kuts -- mine say DONNA. They are higher waisted than my old Dianas -- not an ultra high waist, but mid-high, reaching my navel. VERY stretchy ponte fabric, stretchier and more "legging" like than I ordinarily prefer, and yet still substantial and comfortable and a great fit in my regular size. They will replace my old Kut Mia plaid skinnies which were very low waisted. I'll wear these for work-from-home wear (I kid you not, they are as comfy as PJs!!) and tucked into my tall boots in rainy weather. I think they look better in person -- Mr. Suz was a big fan right away. 

5/6 Zella hoodie -- I sized up for a slightly more oversized, slouchy feel since I will wear primarily as loungewear. It's unbearably itchy in the heat and humidity but will be perfect in cooler temps. Lovely subtle textural knit on the front and lighter weight than my other cashmere lounge sweater. Gorgeous navy.

6/7 Treasure & Bond scarf -- lighter weight silk than last year's Hinge scarf, but still substantial. The pattern is great with my hair. Also, don't you love how the spot on my bathroom mirror makes it look like I've added nose jewellery? ;)

Camisole, bras, undies, smartwool socks-- all replacements for worn-out ones. I use the sale to refresh this capsule every year. Not shown, but all keepers. 

Thanks for looking!

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What I've ordered so far...what I'm still considering

So far, I've ordered a pile of basics (undies and bras) plus a dress, a scarf, a sweater, a pair of pants, and booties. (Finds 1-10)

I am also really interested in a few additional items and debating. (Finds 11 onwards).  I would love (as usual!) to update my jeans. I had to retire a bunch of knitwear and while I know knits are not great this year, I'm open to considering some. I'm also considering Angie's 1901 dress. I will be living in a more temperate climate for at least this coming year and it might be useful. 

I'd also love a great waterproof jacket. I do own a terrific J. Crew waxed cotton field coat (that needs re-waxing) and a water resistant trench and a waterproof bright pink jacket that is definitely showing wear and sometimes feels a bit...mmm. GEAR for everyday wear. I like this Barbour option...but also love, love, love the Ralph Lauren quilted jacket even though it is not waterproof. I would wear that baby into the ground.  

The Blondo booties are there because...waterproof Chelsea boot!!! YEAH!! (I have my wonderful pewter Elodies, which are not waterproof but are very hardy -- but I wore the soles down on those something fierce last year and need to conserve them!) The EF pump is there because....pointy/almond toe, straps but not straight across Mary Jane, covered heel and do-able height (for me) -- stable -- and I do not own a single dressier winter shoe. Only summer ones. 

Would love to hear thoughts from those who have seen these items, reviews, recommendations for those I might have missed. 

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